Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life's too short for bad books...

btt button

In the perfect follow-up to last week’s question, as suggested by C in DC:Is there a book that you wish you could “unread”? One that you disliked so thoroughly you wish you could just forget that you ever read it?


In college I had to read Sartre's Being and Nothingness for a class on existentialism and I found it the most incomprehensible, solipsistic drivel I had ever come across and threw the hefty volume across the room. By the time I was done trying to finish it, the book was split in two. Of course, I could not claim to have come across all that much in my vast 18-years of experience and Dickens's Bleak House is a case in point. I read that book that same year in college. I also hated it and never finished it. I have since read it and raved about it here, here, here, here and here, which is among the reasons that I would never go so far as to wish I could 'unread' something. I was a young person of strong opinions. I am now a somewhat more middle-aged person of strong opinions, but I don't find myself wishing to unread books. Just about the only experiences I would wish to un-have are things I regret having said or done to other people. And I guess there are a couple of plays I acted in that I wish I could unrehearse and unact! But unread? No. I don't waste my time reading books I hate. I simply put them down, knowing I can always try them again later if they are supposed to be worth it, and see if my taste or my patience has changed. Life is too short for bad books or bad wine. If you don't like the way it tastes, pour the sucker out or use it to marinate a London broil and open a better one!

8 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

I agree. Why waste time when you can move on to the next?

Booking through Unread

Sheila O'Malley said...

My brother just read Being and Nothingness, Ted, and his commentary to me in emails about it were HILARIOUS.

My favorite was, "Pick up a shovel, Jean Paul. Do SOMEthing."

Ted said...

S - Voluntarily?! 'Pick up a shovel...' ha-ha-ha! Truly.

Sheila O'Malley said...

Yes - voluntarily - I think he was reading it for the unintentional comedy of it. Since you know my brother, his basic response of "be a man, Jean Paul, for God's sake" is even funnier!!!

Heather said...

I like that you were willing to admit that some of your former opinions might have been less "mature" than they are now. I've found that lots of books I hated reading when I was required to read them, I've since gone back and re-read them and loved them. There's something inherent in a deadline/assignment that puts a bad taste in my literary mouth.

Melissa - Shhh I'm Reading said...

I've never read Dickens, but want to at some point.

Ted said...

G - Too many good ones out there!

H - Funny how a little obligation kills the joy. I want to read everything except what I'm supposed to!

M - you have something to look forward to. Don't start with Bleak House, it's a bear. Perhaps Great Expectations, Tale of Two Cities or Oliver Twist?

Elsi said...

Indeed! Life is too short for bad books. But for me, I had to struggle through one horrendous book—not an assignment in a course—to reach this conclusion. I kept thinking "It has to get better ...", but it didn't. So now, I'm with you—life is too short.